Arsenic is an element widely distributed in the environment, and the diet is the main source of arsenic exposure for most people. However, many of the processes related to steps before intestinal absorption are unknown. This study evaluates the effect of in vitro gastrointestinal digestion on pentavalent arsenic forms [As(V), MMA(V), DMA(V)] present in various vegetables (garlic, broccoli, asparagus, spinach) after soaking or boiling in aqueous solutions of these species. The results showed that the gastrointestinal digest contained trivalent or thiolated arsenic forms different from the pentavalent species added initially. Transformation percentages varied, depending on sample, treatment, and arsenic species. Results showed transformation of up to 22% to As(III), 35% to MMA(III)/MMAS, and 26% to DMA(III)/DMAS. These data indicate that more toxic arsenic species are present in the gastrointestinal digest, and they highlight the need to consider this process when evaluating the toxicological risk associated with ingestion of this metalloid.
Bibliographical noteM.C. received a Personnel Training Grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education in order to carry out this study
- gastrointestinal digestion